Studying & Working Business Start-Up

Every fifth business founder in Germany has a migration background. In this section you will find in brief what you should pay attention to when setting up your company.

Hamburg Welcome Portal English – Studying & Working – Self-Employment - Business Start-Up

Good Reasons for Hamburg

Some 250,000 people from 185 different nations have chosen Hamburg as their home and work between the Alster and the Elbe. Economic potential and a high quality of life make Hamburg one of Europe’s most dynamic economic areas. Among others, locational advantages are based on Hamburg’s good transport links on the Elbe, with the Port of Hamburg providing access to the North and Baltic Seas – and therefore all countries of the world.

Founders of new businesses are given particular support in Hamburg and can benefit from various competent advisory services when implementing their idea. That’s why nearly 10,000 new companies are founded in and around Hamburg every year.

Residence Permit

Citizens from European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) states as well as from Switzerland enjoy unrestricted freedom of movement in Germany and the same rights as Germans. They do not require any residence permit.

Non-EU citizens and non-EEA citizens need a special residence permit which entitles to do business in Hamburg.


In Germany nearly 90% of the population is covered by social insurance. The german social insurance system provides a wide-ranging source of protection for employees in particular and guarantees the social security of our society. The social insurance system consists of: Unemployment insurance, health insurance, long-term care insurance, retirement pension insurance, accident insurance.

For the founder of the business, there is only a compulsory insurance in the health and long-term care insurance. You have the choice between insurance in the statutory health insurance or a private provider. The contribution rate for statutory health insurance is 15.5% of gross salary. For statutory long-term care insurance the contribution rate is 1.95% of the gross salary for self-employed persons with children. Self-employed persons without children pay the contribution rate of 2.2%.

In the case of private health insurance, contributions to health and long-term care insurance are different and depend on the age or state of health at the time of completion.

As a general rule, there is no obligation for a self-employed person to conclude accident insurance, unemployment insurance or pension insurance. However, we recommend you to insure yourself in the areas in order to protect yourself against unforeseen circumstances.

Funding programs

In certain circumstances your business can be funded by the government. Feel free to contact the IFB Business Advice Centre to get information about funding queries. It advises on funding offers from the Senate of Hamburg, the federal government and the EU.

Necessary Paperwork

Don’t forget to register your company with the relevant authorities in Germany before its start (so-called “Gewerbeanzeige”). 

You can do this by visiting one of the following institutions:

More Information

There are numerous advisory services for people interested setting up a business in Hamburg. Click here for more information.